Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Anti US Pretext and Obamas Response

The unrest seen across the Muslim world in recent days is of course a sham. The violence which was focused at places of American power and symbolism such as its embassies and fast food restaurants was nothing more than a pretext for violence disguised by a religious cause in the hope that it would attract wider appeal on the Muslim street. The anti American violence is being led by Islamists, followers of the Wahhabi teachings that dominates extremism among Sunni Muslims. Whether or not they succeed in their efforts to gain wider support depends on if these violent demonstrations fizzle out over the coming days or continue on for several months. Part of me is optimistic. You see, the Islamist movement was caught completely off guard by the anti regime demonstrations that we have seen around the Arab world over the past two years and they have been slow to capitalise of the vacuum left over with the exception of Egypt. The massive unrest we have seen in Tunisia, Libya, Syria and even Egypt rarely had the stamp of Al Quaeda or Wahhabism on them. Truthfully, I think this latest episode is last gasp attempt by the Islamist at winning over the hearts and minds of the Arab people.

Does anyone really think these lads in Pakistan were ok with America before the anti Islamic video became public.


A quick word on how this unrest may affect the US presidential election. Some are arguing that these incidents reflect a failure of Obamas outreach to the Muslim world as articulated in his Cairo speech back in June 2009. Perhaps this is true, although I hardly imagine anybody could argue that these anti American demonstrations would not be happening if John McCain or Mitt Romney were President. Having said that, if the anti American violence does continue over the next few months the Republicans will be able to portray a situation where the Muslim world saw Obamas outreach as a sign of weakness and have responed accordingly. The narrative will be that Obama reached out his hand to Muslims and dead diplomats and burnt out embassies is what he, and America got in return. The Romney campaign have always struggled to demonstrate to the American people that Obamas foreign policy has been a failure but these latest incidents have provided them with an opportunity to do so. If they can capitalise on it the foreign policy advantage that Obama has had over Romney to date will be reduced significantly. However if the anti American demonstration subside within a couple of days it may be out of their hands.

No comments: